Lower Readmissions - Lower Readmissions

Health System Management • December 2016

22 WWW.HEALTHSYSTEMMGMT.COM POPULATION HEALTH HEALTH SYSTEM MANAGEMENT | DECEMBER | 2016 Using Behavioral Health Integration to Lower Readmissions: 5 Steps Collaborative care model could also eliminate errors, boost efficienciesand how nurses are advocating for safe staffing legislation “Though there may be obstacles to overcome, behavioral health integration is vital to improving an organization’s performance and patient outcomes.” Behavioral health care can no longer be seen as a form of care separate from traditional health care treatment and procedures. With the introduction of behavioral health integration, greater emphasis is placed on adopting a collaborative care model that eliminates disparate silos of care that can lead to errors, inefficiencies and unnecessary readmissions. These behavioral health integration models create an expectation for organizations to build bridges between the different systems and cultures reflected in primary care and behavioral health, most prominently. In doing so, organizations can weed out the discontinuities that can negatively impact patient satisfaction and outcomes. CAUSES OF DEFICIENCIES There are many root causes of care deficiencies — some more common than others. For example, when different teams of providers have different funding sources, it can be difficult to align strategies and follow synchronized procedures. Similarly, theoretical treatment methods practiced by medical and behavioral health care teams may vary significantly. Furthermore, when marrying behavioral health to a traditional health care setting, there are often historical organizational structures within each institution that clash and are resistant to a new, integrated approach to care. CONSEQUENCES OF ‘SILOS OF CARE’ Though there may be obstacles to overcome, behavioral health integration is vital to improving an organization’s performance and patient outcomes. Too many organizations are structured in a way that encourages “silos of care,” which leave treatment fragmented and more vulnerable to issues related to a lack of continuity and coordination of care. BY JOY HIMMEL, PSY D., PMHCNS-BC, LPC Himmel is a surveyor for the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC)


Health System Management • December 2016
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